Editorial | Working women lose again

publication date: May 10, 2020
 | 
author/source: Ann Rosenfield

In the last two weeks, I have been on two North American conference calls. One of the participants in each has been a woman with a baby on her lap. I cannot imagine navigating in this time with an infant. But if you add that to all the other systemic issues women face in the workforce, I wouldn't blame women for feeling like they are working twice as hard to get through the day.

Twice as hard? We work in a sector that, according to ONN, is disproportionately female. In a sector where, according to wage surveys by AFP, women make less money than men. In an economy where, according to the Globe and Mail,. In a culture where women do a disproportionate amount of the childcare and housework.

So those women on the calls, with a baby in their lap, are more likely to get furloughed or laid off, are doing more work at home. And if that is not enough, they have less money to spend on help. Adding insult to injury, many places have decreased wages across the board. So, women, who are already being paid less are now even more financially insecure plus have fewer resources to buy help - less money for food delivery, less money for new toys to distract the kids, less money to send out their laundry.

To be fair, this is not the suffering Olympics. Everyone has a challenging situation and everyone has to manage the best they can. I completely agree that this situation is hard for us all.

We can spare a thought for those who already have so much stacked against them which must feel like they are barely keeping up.

As leaders, when thinking about staffing reductions, about salary decreases, we can factor in the existing inequity and make sure that our actions do not make an already unequal situation even more difficult.

As members of our culture, we can work with our partner advocates to make sure that as we build our way to the new normal, we build a society that is more fair for all.

Ann Rosenfield is the Editor of Hilborn Charity eNews. She is lucky to have a job and healthy adult children. She cannot imagine how she would have done this work 15 years ago as a divorced mom with 2 young kids.



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